My life and my work has taken me to many places. I was born in a village in the province of Iloilo in the middle group of the Philippine Islands. My elementary and high school days were spent in Cotabato, where my experiences of being a migrant started. My mother was assigned to teach in a very remote village when we arrived in Cotabato, a province in the island of Mindanao, where Christian Filipinos live alongside Filipino Muslims. I have enlightened and happy memories of studying with Muslims in Cotabato City. My university and my early working life in occupational therapy were spent in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. A staff development programme of the University of the Philippines, which was sponsored by the World Health Organisation, enabled me to visit occupational therapy establishments in other countries – Hong Kong, England, Wales, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Imagine my excitement, as this was my first time to travel outside of the Philippines. Along the way, I visited Beirut, Athens, and Rome, glimpsing, with thrill and delight, at some aspects of the ancient world – its architecture, paintings, sculptures in situ.
In Oxford, England, I met my husband where I studied for a Teaching Diploma in Occupational Therapy. He followed me to Manila and our daughter was born in Manila, Philippines.
Most of my working life has been spent in England, although I started my career in academia and practice of occupational therapy at the University of the Philippines, Manila. I am married to a philosopher who has published a book on the philosophy of mind. It is with pride that I say that our only child edits my novels and that she is currently pursuing a doctorate at Royal Holloway (University of London) on the topic of British coming of age films.
I love seeing other countries and cultures. However, these places in England remain my favourites – Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Sark. These are where I have fond memories taking coastal and cliff top walks with my husband and/or daughter.
On the academic side, my writing has been minuscule, although I can boast of a book, Management in Occupational Therapy (1991). Ex-students and former colleagues occasionally tell me that people continue to use my book. This is like music to my ears.
From attending creative writing courses (2007 – 2010) under the auspices of West Sussex County Council (Horsham, England), I found that I can develop engaging characters. However, I still have lots to learn about writing. My love for reading, engendered by my mother, remains. Without any doubt, my stint in editing our high school paper nurtured my passion for writing and the written word generally. The many books, newspaper articles and magazines that I read inspire me to be a better writer. I am encouraged and enhanced by the many positive comments that I receive about my books.